FORMER Miss South Africa finalist, model, lifestyle consultant and industrial psychology graduate, Iman Sheik, had a one-on-one with Fever journalist Phindile Shozi, to reveal her trade secrets. PS: Tell us about your experience of being a Miss South Africa finalist. IS: As a child, I was not very confident about my body as I was very skinny and tall. However, one day I decided to give modelling a try and never looked back. My journey empowered me, and made me the woman I am today. I was given a platform to inspire and educate other women with the necessary life tools, from styling and appearance to making a lasting first impression and communication. PS: How did you build your self-esteem? IS: I was not very confident; I was skinny and tall, often called things like “anorexic” or “stick”. Still to this day, I have some days where I don’t feel beautiful, or confident in my skin. It’s especially hard when people pick at what I eat and how much. Shopping can be a nightmare too, as I am often told to “go to the kiddies department”. Thankfully, I have learnt to embrace those days. You are allowed to have those days. It doesn’t mean you are weak or any less of a woman. They are a reminder to show yourself a little more love. I take every day as it comes. I also believe we are in control of what we chose to believe. Having anxiety doesn’t make it easier. PS: How do you deal with it now? IS: I had to learn to surround myself with positivity and do not let what people say define me as a person. You are your own worst enemy if you allow negativity to stop you from pursuing your dreams. Turn negativity into positivity. My “long bones” became my career. PS: Who guided you in your journey to becoming a successful model? IS: Three phenomenal women, firstly my mom, Rene, who has always supported me. She has a rare autoimmune disorder; the day we often take for granted is her great day. Seeing her struggle made me realise life is too short to not follow your dreams. The second is my best friend, Sonam. She is a dancer and she is also breaking norms and stereotypes everyday through it. The last will have to be Tiffany from Ice models. I would not have a career if it wasn’t for her discovering me. PS: What are your future endeavours in the modelling industry? IS: I’m starting to come into my own person and also pushing myself more. I want to travel as it’s the platform to do so. PS: What can you say to young girls who want to get into modelling? IS: Modelling is not an easy industry; you work crazy hours and a lot of people will try to exploit you. It’s hard work. In saying that, I get to play dress-up on the greatest scale. I have met the most incredible people along the way. Stay humble and make a success out of every outfit. PS: What is Iman Sheik up to now? IS: Besides modelling, I recently partnered with Trisha Poona to start a project called Flourish. Our mission is to share our wealth of knowledge, life experiences and skills so every girl and woman in South Africa can feel confident in her own skin. If I can help someone by sharing my knowledge, so be it. I want to be a part of this change we call feminism. I want to make a difference, as these girls are the leaders we will one day have.